Linkedin: Choice and Its Vicissitudes: A Lesson in How Science Works by Barry Schwartz — my response 25, 2012

Humanity is all screwed up and this piece doesn’t help to explain it. Most Americans live an unhappy, unconscious and soulless life. Our culture and its many institutions, as well as, through marketing and advertising have trained us to look outwardly, make endless purchases to solve an inside problem – to solve an empty, a lonely and a loveless life. We lack “a feeling” of wholeness in our gut. Men and women make all sorts of daily purchases in an attempt to cure their loneliness, their dislike for themselves. Spending money is an activity that we can control when much of our life is out of control. Rather than step up to solve a new or old personal and work problems that money can’t, we ignore them. This behavior leads to denial and insanity, which leads to the growth of emotional pain and suffering. We learn to pick up our drug of choice to cope with the pain and our powerlessness over the situation.

As a philosopher, the condition of the modern man is so bad that I’ve had to turn to the behavior of nature to get a true sense of how we should be operating. Animals in the wild live on instinct and in the moment, not in the past or out into the future. They must be able to hunt for food, kill and eat, know when to rest, sleep, mate and know when to defend their turf in order to survive and thrive. Our culture has stripped us of our defense mechanism for barking and biting with social etiquette, manners and being fake. Our instincts, our conscious life for living in the moment has been deadened. We’re simply going through the motions of life.

Looking back, looking forward, but never living in the moment and enjoying the experience. We have our basic needs and our wants. Getting our needs met is relatively cheap and easy leading to a feeling of contentment and happiness. Wants, on the other hand, are usually an indirect attempt to solve a basic need, buying a $150 pair of designer jeans when a $50 pair will do, buying a luxury car over a getting a domestic model, which fits in the budget much easier. I know of people who can’t get a big enough digital TV for their house, they’ve become addicted to bigger and bigger. Meeting our needs addresses our human spirit and our basic survival, anything over and above is simply serving our ego and the world. Long before Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart Supercenters, we had small grocery stores. Has humanity changed that much over the past 50 years that we need aisles and aisles of choices or has our level of dissatisfaction for ourselves and for life simply grown out of control?

Copyright © 2013. All Rights Reserved. “Linkedin: Choice and Its Vicissitudes: A Lesson in How Science Works by Barry Schwartz — my response” by Ted Burnett.

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I'm an American thought leader and pioneer on the subjects of human, organizational and societal development and health. I write about the role that integrity, dignity, sanity play, as well as, on the topics of spirituality, faith, freedom, happiness, problem solving and risk taking. I produce and deliver original, world-class commentaries on business, political, social and spiritual matters to a global audience of world leaders, chief executives and key decision makers, top faculty and notables in the fields of academia, banking, business, foundations, government (including heads of state, lawmakers and governors), healthcare, media, non-profits and policy institutes. Website: